Muslim group vows mosque will be built

The Dudley Muslim Association today said it would proceed with plans to build a new mosque on derelict land in Dudley unless the council comes up with a "viable" alternative.

The Dudley Muslim Association today said it would proceed with plans to build a new mosque on derelict land in Dudley unless the council comes up with a "viable" alternative.

Chairman Khurshid Ahmed was speaking after Dudley Council announced an agreement had been reached not to pursue controversial plans to build a mosque with 65ft minaret in Hall Street but instead redevelop the existing mosque in Castle Hill. Mr Ahmed said the DMA wanted to hear exactly what alternative the council was proposing before pulling out of Hall Street.

He vowed that a mosque would be built in Dudley, whether at this location or another.

He said: "We are waiting to see details of the offer, if the offer is not suitable we will have no alternative but to pursue Hall Street and will proceed immediately after the election.

"We have been in negotiation with the council for the last two years, if there is an alternative site we are willing to move from Hall Street as long as we are able to develop the same facilities.

"In principle we are working with the council to look at alternatives in view of the controversy, and if the council can come up with an alternative that's viable we will look at this positively and I believe they are on the brink of delivering that."

Deputy council leader Les Jones said he was a "bit disappointed" with the DMA's stance but said he still believed the proposal to build a mosque on land in Hall Street would not go ahead.

He said: "We believe we have got a viable alternative on the table and therefore believe the Hall Street plan will not go ahead because there is no need for it.

"The offer will be as good as what the DMA has got, our officers met them only last week and went through a whole series of proposals about how they could acquire extra space to make the existing mosque bigger."

* Two men have been arrested following a rooftop protest against plans to build the £18 million mosque. Members of the English Defence League (EDL) were removed from a disused factory in Hall Street yesterday afternoon.

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